This is the Bargnani I hope to see come regular season. Andrea always shows up against the Big Markets/teams/venues it seems to be.
Happy Birthday, Bargs.
Turns 27 today.
His cake won't be an actual cake. It'll be a mountain of primo pasta and sauce.
Doug Smith: Raptors@SmithRaps
Bargnani fights off flu, he's a go for @raptors tonight
He took some Tylenol
Bargnani played his first game of the season like he played the first 13 of last year. Grabbing rebounds, getting blocks, playing man D. He missed a few help side rotations, but Indiana is a good team. If he plays like this every night, Raptors are on their way.
Valanciunas became the first Raptors rookie since Damon Stoudamire (1995) to record a double-double in his first game.
I thought Bargnani's 1st quarter and most of his man-defense was solid. After coming back into the game in the 2nd quarter, it was clear that the flu had zapped his energy, as he had absolutely no legs under him. I didn't understand why Casey continued to ride him, when it was clear that he was gassed. Once they had the big lead, they should have brought Gray in for defensive reasons. I also get so frustrated when he starts out games scoring well inside, only to have plays called for him to take stupid long-range jumpers. He was great at getting both Hibbert and West to commit 3 fouls each, but then they stopped feeding him down low.... made absolutely no sense to me.
Bargnani is far from my biggest concern on this team though. Our wings are horrendous. DeRozan and Fields should be backups, Anderson was good defensively (but invisible offensively) and Ross was a rookie deer-in-the-headlights. Amir falling in love with long-range 2's is also a cause for concern. Bargnani will be fine once his energy is back.
Have to see what he looks like on Saturday. I think he will come out hard again but will maintain it. I believe he feels he has something to prove and has memories of all the people going "OMG!" for the first few weeks last year. I bet he wants that feeling back.
As for West abusing him, West looked like he would have abused almost anybody last night. Again, I will be watching his D in the next few games. I thought he was moving well, and playing effective help in the 1st quarter. I remember thinking how well he and JV were operating on D together. the engineered some nice turnovers/steals.